“This is bullshit… so, you’re willing and able to get together for drinks or go out at night with me, get shit-faced & crash afterwards but you refuse to do dinner or watch flicks together!” I said in an exacerbated way “No, it’s not that. I want to but…” and without letting her finish, that was all it took for me to realize that there isn’t anything else beyond just us fooling around, no commitment, no obligations & more than anything, no romance at all, just a casual relationship.
I see it everywhere, in every turn, every corner around every town I explore. The modern human and their shallow interactions but more than anything, their casual approach to dates and relationships. It’s “let’s grab drinks” instead of “let’s go out on a date”, it’s “we’re talking” instead of “we’re going out (as a couple)”, and it’s “let’s hang out” which is used for everything instead of actually stating explicitly exactly where this (whatever this is; a relationship, a friendship, etc) is going.
One of the recurrent topics in conversations I have with my mother is the fall of romanticism and why confessing your love to someone is non-existent nowadays. The reason why I became obsessed with all things music was because of my parents but mainly my mom as she always had something on while doing chores around the house. Her go-to genre is ballads of all kinds; 50-60s Motown, 80s Power Ballads, Classics from Sinatra going through Bryan Adams all the way to Julio Iglesias. English, Spanish, you name it.
“Same as R&B, ballads, and romantic songs… real life interactions, loving relationships, and romanticism are fading into oblivion.”
The common thread among all the songs by all the aforementioned artists regardless of era, language, etc, is the romanticism in the lyrics, the unequivocal (but cheesy) love that is disclosed or confessed in them, a love letter in a way.
According to her, the expression and confession of love for the one we want, desire or would like to court and take on a date, all that is now a thing of the past, long gone. It is a new era, times have changed, and unfortunately for the worse in that regard. She said that the same thing that happened to all of those R&B, Soul, Slow Jams, Ballads, and Romantic Songs where you no longer hear those on the radio or becoming hits, is the same thing that has been happening for years now with real life interactions and relationships, romanticism is fading into oblivion.
Out is “I Will Always Love You”, “On Bended Knee”, and “Dreaming Of You” and in is “Despacito”, “Anaconda” and “Bang Bang!”. Out, the caring embrace along with nice, slow swings of two creatures in love, in complete sync. In, the motion of grinding bodies to a frenetic musical pace essentially having sex with clothes on. In other words, romanticism no longer sells records, and no longer is wanted or desired in dating and relationships nowadays.
I hear it everywhere, friends tell me “Hey, I’m meeting up with a girl, man” to what I reply “oh cool, what’s the plan?” and the now oh-so broken like a record response “we’re meeting up at Starbucks for coffee”. So, that’s where we stand now, eh, coffee or drinks entail a date. Gone are the days of someone picking you up at a certain time with sweaty hands, heart racing and mustering up enough courage to shoot an unnecessary (but endearing) compliment as soon as the date opens the door.
Goddamn! When did going out for a drink or coffee become the replacement of a good ol’ fashioned type of date? When did grabbing a “late night quick bite or drinks” became a euphemism for let’s keep it casual, fuck with no strings attached? When did “dinner & a movie” became such a big deal? When did anything more than a cup of java became an implicit way to say “I want to settle down right now”?
“Most people have become a walking curriculum, a collection of checklists to one-up each other rather than being vulnerable and sharing goals and dreams.”
The answer is very simple. We’ve become enamored with the idea of freedom, of cool, of being independent, of being the one who cares less because somehow that makes us the righteous one, the winner in the relationship, because somehow loving with all of our heart makes us the weak one.
Most people have become a walking curriculum and a collection of checklists that most go on “dates” with as a form of ammo in the sense of places, accomplishments and achievement to one-up the other person rather than being vulnerable and sharing goals and dreams. Oh yeah, you better have it ready cause God fucking forbid asking someone what their true intentions are, and what they think about marriage or kids cause that’s when it’s the time to get up and run the other way as fast as possible.
All of a sudden any kind of formality is frowned-upon and makes you look weak and like a total wuss. Yet, ambiguity and confusion makes you look like a champ cause -once again- God forbid, the one you are attracted to finds out you are head-over-heels for her.
I get it though because I am on the same boat as those that don’t use or don’t want to use the term “date”. Yeah, scary I know, cause it carries a shit load of weight and can be intimidating because it conveys formality, it means compromising and -to a certain degree- commitment. The commitment and the pressure of being under a certain level of expectation, of possibly being the one, of possibly becoming someone’s future, of showing your romantic, cheesy side because it means “I’m letting you see my vulnerable, goofy, airhead not so top-notch side”.
That’s the reason why we rather text than call, why we prefer to shoot a “wanna hangout?” message than to pick up the phone and make plans with the other person, why we rather grind with someone at the club than opening up to someone over dinner or a walk in the park. The reason why romanticism is dead in the water in hopes to be revived, a revival that doesn’t appear to come.